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Volume 25 No. 45
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Does Enhanced Tech Hurt Fox With U.S. Open Coverage?

Audiences were mixed on Fox' use of both mics in the holes and around the tee boxes
Photo: getty images

Fox Sports' fascination with "bigger and better technology for golf coverage came back to haunt the network during its telecast Thursday" at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, according to Michael McCarthy of SPORTING NEWS. In the past, Fox' "tiny eavesdropping devices have picked up fascinating chatter between golfers," but on Thursday, viewers "didn't get many revealing nuggets between opposing players or between players and their caddies." Instead, they "heard a lot from a loud and proud New York crowd," with mics in the hole and around tee boxes. It is "hard to blame Fox for spectators running their yaps." Still, the mics "picking up these gavones hurt the broadcast." McCarthy: "As a viewer, I found it distracting to hear that stuff on nearly every hole, every shot." McCarthy wrote he does like Fox' "innovative use of ball tracing, Trackman radar technology, FlightTrack for fairway shots, Green Reader and other bells and whistles." Fox had "plenty of strong moments Thursday as it chronicled the struggles of top golfers at the windy and difficult Shinnecock Hills" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 6/14).

EARLY GRADES: MORNINGREAD.com's John Hawkins writes Thursday's "star" for Fox' coverage was on-course reporter Curtis Strange, a "longtime fixture in the booth who now truly excels" on the ground. His "no-slobber approach made him the perfect choice" to follow Tiger Woods' group, and when "disaster struck immediately, his voice of reason carried a sage-like quality." Meanwhile, Hawkins writes there are "too many holes" in Fox' coverage. Shane O’Donoghue "handles post-round interviews -- he’s not nearly as good as those who perform the task at other networks." Shane Bacon appears to be an "excellent choice as the backup anchor" behind Joe Buck. Bacon is paired with Brad Faxon, who is "no [Paul] Azinger, although he does have his moments of divine insight" (MORNINGREAD.com, 6/15).